1950s Peak Trams at May Road

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 06:07

Note the transition between the "old and new " Peak Trams.

Date picture taken


I used to go to school on the Peak Tram from Bowen Rd, first down to Kennedy Road Junior School (1951-1953), and then the Peak School (1953-1956).  There was a siding near the bottom of the track, and usually the older tram was parked there. Every so often one of the two newer green trams would go in for maintenance, and the older tram came back out to substitute.

Still is, but it's the "very old" green tram that's parked there!  I doubt, however, the green tram even runs.  Probably doesn't even have a proper safety system (guessing it never did...)  

"In addition to the normal braking system, each tramcar is fitted with an emergency brake which comprises powerful steel jaws which would fasten on to the emergency centre brake rail which is bolted to the track bed throughout the entire length of the track. Should it be necessary for a brakesman  to apply this system, he would only have to take his hands off the brake bar, which he holds in the open position while the tramcar is travelling, which would cause the emergency brake to immediately come into action and the tramcar would be stopped on any gradient, even the steepest at May Road ( which is 1 in 2) after travelling not more than 8 feet."

ref: Hong Kong's Famous funicular. The Peak Tramway 1888-1978 

Research & text by John Arnold General Manager Peak Tramways Co. Ltd. 

Regards degahk

I am very familiar with safety systems (it's one of my day jobs).  The "always on" system where the conductor has to have a hand on the brake is called a "dead man's switch."  (probably called something else now, but let's stick to the old-school terminology).  They are relatively easy to defeat, and are not truly two-person redundant, where a second person (or entity) is constantly monitoring that the person on the switch isn't defeating it somehow.  

Not implying that the green tram safety system was not state of the art at the time, but that was 50+ (maybe more) years ago.  Technology has evolved a lot since then.  Just ride the current generation of the tram to see all the systems in place.